Sony has hinted recently that its participation on iTunes is far from certain, and that's not surprising considering how the company has cosied up to rivals of Apple, such as being a massive supporter of Google's Android. And now, Sony is launching their own online music service, one which promises unlimited music for only $10 per month.
The catch, and there is always a catch, is that Music Unlimited (powered by Qriocity) is only a music streaming service, not a download service. It's not streaming in the sense of an online radio station, as you do get to choose which songs you want to listen to, but you won't be able to download the songs to your computer for offline listening (at least not legally anyway).
So for $3.99 per month for the basic plan, or $9.99 for the premium plan ($AUD 4.99 and $AUD 12.99 in Australia - ripped off once again, despite the AUD being more valuable than the USD at the moment), you can have access to up to 6 million tracks, with the only other cost being bandwidth. The Basic plan, unlike the Premium plan, does not allow you to choose any music, only music that you currently own (which is scanned via the Music Sync service, and the playlist uploaded online, for the songs that Music Unlimited has in its library anyway) or it can operates much like an ad-free radio station by allowing you to select the genre or era, but not specific titles.
And instead of aiming the service at portable media players, it's more aimed for the home users, with Sony's range of TVs, Blu-ray players and the PS3 all supporting the service.
It's music in the cloud, but it's more rental, than buy. And with free competing services available now or in the near future (Spotify anyone?), Music Unlimited may fail to grab the attention of today's music lovers. But it's a start, I suppose, to a new way of enjoying music online.
It may not be better than sliced bread, but it's definitely better than receiving a threatening letter from a copyright law firm.
Is Music Unlimited something that interests you, or do you think it doesn't go far enough in terms of better pricing or innovation? Post your opinion in our comments section, or in this forum thread: